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What is this about?

Some people say that they find it hard to get to sleep if they stare at a white computer screen right before they get to bed. Even worse, many people now read in bed on their phone or tablet before they go to sleep. According to some experts, this is bad for you in many ways. The hypothesis is that the computer screen looks like bright sunlight and it disrupts your natural day/night cycle. This may or may not be right but I know that I feel more awake if I decide to check my emails late at night.

This post will share a few free utilities you can install on your devices to tint your screen automatically after sunset. This makes it easier on the eyes and hopefully will also help you get more sleep. This can only be beneficial to someone who may also have attention and focus issues.

f.lux for your computer or laptop

flux

f.lux is a free utility that will automatically tint your screen at sunset. All you have to do is tell it your location and it will automatically adjust the time of dimming for the time of year.

It also features a movie mode and can be paused while you’re doing colour-sensitive work late at night.

Alternatives to f.lux

There are other, more advanced, options if you don’t like f.lux

  • SunSet Screen offers more settings but can be more difficult to use
  • Redshift is a version of f.lux designed specifically for Linux

Twilight for your Android phone or tablet

My favourite screen dimming app on my phone is Twighlight. It works just like f.lux. It dims and tints the screen automatically depending on the time of day, the time of year and your location. And it can be paused.

There is also a Pro version of Twilight that offers more options.

While you’re at it, you may also want to try the Sleep as Android smart alarm clock. It has many clever tools for waking you up and stopping you oversleeping but it will also monitor your sleep. You can even buy an add on to play you a lullaby to help you fall asleep.

Alternative to Twilight

If for some reason you don’t like Twilight, you can also try Bluelight Filter for Eye Care.

Settings for your iPhone or iPad

Unfortunately, there are no apps on the iPhone or iPad that can schedule screen dimming because of limitations on what the system allows apps to do. But there is a trick to achieve a similar effect manually.

The iPhone does have an alternative to Sleep as Android though in the app Sleep Cycle.

Does it work?

I’ve been using f.lux and Twilight on all my desktop, laptop and phones for about six months. I can’t say whether it improved my sleep overall but it certainly made it much easier to fall asleep from looking at the screen. And when I recently had to switch to an older phone I immediately noticed that my eyes hurt at night until I installed Twilight on it.

Both apps have the option of gradually introducing the tint because suddenly turning it on can be quite jarring but after a while it your eyes get used to it and the screen looks fine.

 Word Document Version

What should we cover next?

If you’d like to suggest what else this blog can cover, you can add your voice to the roadmap document.

 

Note: Watch this video before you download and install any free software.

Dominik Lukes - Education and Technology Specialist

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